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[aymara] Aymara Language&Culture


From Laura Jones

Subject Native Aboriginal American Language and Culture of Inca and preInca times

Date Thursday, February 22, 2001

To Dr. George Soros and Director Roman Crespo

Roman Crespo, Dr. Soros, is Director of an NGO, Centro Marka, in La Paz, Bolivia. This is the chain of events that led me to him: Some little time ago I happened upon a mention of the Aymara language, something was said to the effect that it is so perfect, it could have been made by a computer. Well, my long and often painful experience with computers has definitely taught me that computers are not logical, people are logical, and computers are only as logical as the people who program them. Nevertheless – well, my experience with computers began in about the mid 60’s when I was part of a community we were part of for 16 years, until the death of the head of the community in 1980. I guess I should say a little more about that community. It formed around a genius very, very much like yourself, Dr. Soros. But while your plan to change the world began to take shape and materialize along with your financial growth – or, I don’t know, perhaps like Dr. Herbert Schwartz you also knew from the very beginning that you were destined to change the world in a significant manner. The specifics in Herbert’s case unfolded as he worked on his doctoral dissertation on Aristotle, at Columbia University, and came to know St. Thomas Aquinas. This led him to become Catholic – although he was definitely not your ordinary garden variety Catholic! I have since 1995 bombarded Pope John Paul II with what he taught us – and with how he taught it to us – and in the wake of our apocalyptic war against a tiny Orthodox country, a bombing that began on the feast of the Annunciation – when the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear the very Son of God who would become incarnate for our salvation – and our bombing continued right through Easter, the consummation of this Mystery, and as celebrated by all Christians everywhere, whether they use the Julian or Gregorian calendar. So in the wake of this antiChristian war, Pope John Paul has been more active and has moved a number of things forward. (For the information of one Mr. Beesly, let me say that there were no Jesuits and no Jesuit influence in our community or our company, Logos. I got my Master’s degree at Georgetown, which I attended not to learn from them but to use them as a devil’s advocate for intellectual stimulation, and they threw me out after I did manage to finish the Master’s – despite their active opposition to me – because I was always telling them they were not teaching the true Catholic Faith. Alex Condori joked maybe Mr. Beesly thought that our community and Logos and my interest in Aymara were all part of a Jesuit conspiracy, but as you can see it was not that way at all!! Perhaps back when the Jesuit Ludovico Bertonio wrote his Art of the Aymara Language back in 1603 the Jesuits had not strayed so far from the truth, so I am not loath to use his grammar.)

Back in the beginning when our community was smaller, we were able to spend all of our time with Herbert, and shortly before I myself came on the scene, one of our guys, Bud Scott had had the good fortune to have had for 3 months the opportunity to work constantly and closely with Herbert – he had several ideas about projects involving the computer, which he discussed with Herbert who encouraged him to pursue these ideas. In the end, others got there first as regards all his proposed projects, except the one on machine translation, which was in any case the most interesting, and the only one that would significantly involve others besides programmers from the community. And so we formed a company, Logos, we raised money by going public, and a few years ago Logos was recognized by Byte magazine, in a special January issue on machine translation, as being in the top echelon with respect to the depth of syntactic and semantic analysis and resolution. The Logos system is, in its linguistic logic – comparable in perfection to the Aymara language. Let me say that, although I have ordered the current work on the language from AmazonDotCom, after all my Logos experience I am like a mechanic who would rather raise the hood to examine a car and find out how it works than read a book on it. I am sure I will find the reading of value, but I can see from the charts on Jorge Arpasi’s web page how linguistically perfect it is.

And this interests me very much - not because I am a professional linguist, Mr. Beesly, my work with language was only a brief and rather haphazard and intermittent episode in my life, which has otherwise been filled with vastly more important achievements – but it interests me because before I visited Jorge’s page I had read about the exceptional buildings in Central and South America, the huge stones fitted just as perfectly and tightly as those of the Egyptian pyramids, and in a vastly more complex pattern requiring tremendous skill at stone cutting. I see good pictures of them in a catalogue for clothing called "The Peruvian Connection" which uses them as a backdrop for the models. I had read about those remarkable huge figures on the high plateau in Nazcar, so large we didn’t recognize what they were until we got around to inventing aviation. One book I read was mystified as to how these "primitive" people could get up into the air to view them, but I came upon another book in which it was said that archeologists finally took note of the hot air balloons depicted on their pottery. They had a company making hot air balloons copy the depiction, and then used it to ascend and view the figures, the balloon company said that the fabric used by the ancient people was even more tightly woven than their own. Then there is the beautiful "candelabra" carved on a limestone palisade on the Pacific Coast, I think of Peru but I’m not sure, it is not actually a candelabra but represents, like the Nazcar figures, a heavenly constellation, and the gigantic carved figure is positioned so as to have been seen right below that constellation on a date which is significant for this people’s religion.

Not only in IncaLand are there such remarkable religious cultures – because the fine buildings, the pyramids and all, were not used for shopping malls or office buildings, but for religious purposes, and the remarkable religious complex at Angor Wat, in Cambodia, is actually a gallery, or a complex of galleries, indoor and outdoor, of ikons such as we Orthodox use, we call our ikons "scripture written in color", and once when some Jehovah’s Witnesses came to our house, and it somehow came about that they said religious pictures were idolatrous, I invited them in and showed them how theological our ikons are, they were especially taken with the Nativity ikon, which does not show a mother father and baby like any other family, but has Joseph off to the side, he isn’t the father of the Infant, he is being tempted because it was when the angel came to him because he knew he was not the father of Mary’s baby, and told him that what was within her was from God that it was first made explicit that Jesus is truly the Son of God. I have never seen this very important event depicted in western art for Christmas. Jesus is not depicted in our ikons as a roly poly baby, but rather his swaddling clothes are wrapped as funerary winding cloths because the purpose of his coming was to die for us. The Magi are depicted in the far distance, not at the cave, because in the Gospel it says they came to the house to pay homage to Jesus. The Witnesses were quite impressed! And we all agreed that much western religious art is truly idolatrous.

So, Dr. Soros, I think it is tremendously important for the future of our globe to honor and respect these beautiful and very religious cultures, it is necessary to attain peace in our world, as I believe is born out by two articles I will paste in, a beautiful one on some Albanians who are rebuilding an Orthodox church they destroyed – and another from the Morrock News Service which is new to me – but certainly refreshing and welcome. Yes, things truly are looking up, brothers and sisters, and, Dr. Soros, you made such an important contribution by your support of the Serbian student movement, Otpor, to the fact that suddenly overnight Serbia became free, democratic and western backed – and without bloodshed! And look at all the other marvelous things following in the wake. So again we have some fine young people who are plugged into something which could restore to those who perhaps are aboriginal native Americans, or who are – or should be if they aren’t!!! – influenced by it, the rightful pride and dignity that was taken from them by the foreign colonizers of America. Surely a stronger and more vibrant Latin America will make inroads on the North American mentality which comes out in the reporting by the Hartford newspaper.

My friend Jorge says that Director Roman Crespo "helps me kindly with many texts in Aymara for my web site" and I’m sure he will be very good at coordinating the efforts of your Open Society Foundation of Bolivia which I am sure you will set up after you finish reading all of this, including the 2 concluding news items.

Politika, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
February 21, 2001


Albanians to restore the monastery of Zociste

Four Albanian young men who participated in the destruction of the ancient church became psychologically ill, one of them died seven months later

Kosovska Mitrovica, February 20

The Albanian population of Zociste in Orahovac municipality, reports Archpriest Milenko Dragicevic from the neighboring village of Velika Hoca, has founded an committee for the restoration of the monastery of Zociste in their village. This monastery, whose Church of the Holy Healers Cosmas and Damian is mentioned as a Christian holy site dating back to the 8th century, was first burnt down and then blown up by the Albanians of Zociste on June 17, 1999.

In the fall of 1999, four Albanian young men who participated in the destruction of this holy site became psychologically ill. One of them died seven months later and the number of Albanian destroyers from Zociste and neighboring Opterusa who became ill increased to 12, the Albanians in the committee to restore the monastery recently told Father Milenko. The locals are convinced that the Albanian people have fallen under a curse.

Historians claim that the Church of the Holy Healers Cosmas and Damian was built at the beginning of the 8th century and restored several times. The most recent renovation with a semi-round vault and a wide narthex was built on the foundations of the old church. The donors (13th century) were senior church officials as this monastery was the seat of the diocese at that time.

During the past ten centuries, this monastery has been the sanctuary of the ill who came worship before the holy relics. After the arrival of the Turks in the Balkans and the Islamization of the Albanians, the locals of Zociste and all of Metohija honored the tradition of protecting this monastery. The monastery brotherhood, in accordance with the wishes of the Muslim faithful, permitted Albanians who were ailing to sleep on the lounge before the chest
containing the holy relics and prayed for their recovery.

The last time reporters of Politika visited the monastery in September 1998 they were witness to an Albanian pilgrimage to the Church of the Holy Healers when the prior at that time, Jovan, prayed for the recovery of an Albanian woman.

However, then days later, Albanian terrorists kidnapped Prior Jovan and seven monks. They were released four days later by the kidnappers following the intervention of OSCE and the International Red Cross. At that time the monastery was not physically damaged; however, the church was desecrated and all valuables were looted from the residence hall and the church treasury.

After release from a private jail for Serbs which the terrorists had set up in Malisevo, the brotherhood spent the night in Gracanica and, without a moment's hesitation, again returned to Zociste. Prior Jovan was soon appointed as head of the monastery of Celije while Father Romilo was appointed to the position of prior.

After the burning down and destruction of the monastery of Zociste, the monks were temporarily sent to Crna Reka where they and other monasteries of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren heard word of the intent to restore the church which made them happy and filled them with hope of returning to the holy site which was spiritually active for 14 centuries.

M. Laketic
Translated by S. Lazovic (Feb. 21, 2001)

For more information on destroyed and desecrated Serbian shrines, please see
the online version of "Crucified Kosovo" at

* * *


Death on the Day of the Dead

The Morrock News Service Contributor

February 20, 2001

It was a combination of incredibly bad timing and outrageously insensitive reporting. On Friday, Feb. 16, the Hartford (Conn.) Courant ran an editorial titled: "Serbs should face their past." The gist was that the evil Serbs, who tried to eliminate all living and dead ethnic Albanians, are "in denial about their dark side" and will be international pariah "as long as they are indifferent to gruesome stories of Serb atrocities."

The timing was incredibly bad because on that same day at least seven people, including a 3-year-old child, were blown apart and 43 others were hurt when a remote-controlled bomb blew up a bus carrying Serbs to a cemetery for an ancient pre-Lenten Saturday of the Souls, or Day of the Dead, observance. Thirteen people remained unaccounted for two days later.

The vehicle was part of a five-bus KFOR convoy that had just crossed the border from Serbia, near the town of Podujevo, about 25 miles from Pristina, according to a UN source quoted by the BBC. It was the deadliest single incident since July 1999 when terrorists machine-gunned to death 14 Serb farmers who were tilling their fields south of Pristina.

The Podujevo attack came three days after one Serb was shot to death and three others were injured in another convoy ambush near Strpce. And Sunday, three Serbian policemen were killed near the Kosovo border when their vehicles hit two anti-tank mines in Lucane. Half of the village is held by ethnic Albanian rebels. Much of the 3-mile wide buffer zone established along Kosovo's eastern border with Serbia after the NATO air war ended has been taken over by Albanian rebels. KFOR commanders can only watch as the rebels train in clear view of the peacekeepers. The rebels are suspected of using the buffer zone to launch their deadly attacks.

The Courant editorial was outrageously insensitive because it blatantly ignored an important fact known by NATO commanders, Serbian leaders, and journalists covering the conflict: ethnic Serbs, not ethnic Albanians, are being cleansed from the region.

About 300,000 non-Albanians, mostly Serbs, lived in Kosovo prior to the bombings. Today, only about 100,000 Serbs remain, living mostly in isolated enclaves and depending on KFOR peacekeepers for protection.

"It seems the minority community is being hunted down one by one and extreme members of the society will not rest until the province is ethnically cleansed," said Eric Morris, head of the UNHCR refugee agency, in an Agence France-Presse dispatch over the weekend.

The Orthodox Day of the Dead took on new meaning as mourners of the latest victims gathered in cemeteries with family and friends who were praying for the souls of departed relatives. Some of the dead, no doubt, were victims of the centuries-old ethnic conflicts that have plagued the Balkans and Kosovo in particular. Ancient blood stains the hands of everyone.

One wonders, then, why the Hartford Courant's editorial writers chose this time to take a stand against a hunted people in favor of known thugs and hoodlums. One assumes the respected publication has access to wire service stories about Kosovo's daily conflicts, and that its writers are current on the region's horrific events.

The Associated Press coverage of last week's carnage was accompanied by a short sidebar of recent anti-Serb attacks, starting with the July 23, 1999, killings in the fields. Other noted attacks included:

Sept. 7, 1999, when two people were killed and four wounded after shells hit two villages.

Dec. 4, 1999, when an explosion blew apart the home of a local Serb leader, killing a woman and injuring two others. That attack occurred shortly after two other Serbs were murdered while gathering firewood.

Jan. 7, 2000, when Albanian gangsters killed two Serb women on their way to a Christmas Day liturgy.

Feb. 2, 2000, when two Serbs were killed and five others injured during a rocket attack on a UN bus carrying Serb civilians.

May 29, 2000, when a 4-year old boy and two men were killed when a gunman fired upon a group of Serbs gathered in a store.

Not listed was the June 14, 1999, kidnapping by the Kosovo Liberation Army of a Serbian Orthodox monk, whose body was found 14 months later. He had been stabbed, mutilated, and beheaded.

I received an email over the weekend from Father Demetrios Serfes, President of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund based in Idaho, and Hieromonk Sava (also known in the international community as the Cyber Monk) from the Decani Monastery in Kosovo. It told of the destruction of another Serbian Orthodox Church near Pristina, bringing to 104 the number of Orthodox holy sites destroyed in the past 18 months.

"Why are we so silent, why are we in denial, and why are we neglectful in the realization that this matter continues on and on as an everyday occurrence of the destruction of the Serbian Orthodox Churches, Monasteries, homes, and places of which are a part of everyday living in Kosovo?" the e-mail asked.

"We appeal to you again and again: please do not forget Kosovo."

It would seem the people of Connecticut already have.